The Aga Khan Library is the product of a collaboration between The Institute of Ismaili Studies (IIS) and The Aga Khan University’s Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations​(AKU-ISMC). The idea behind our creation began in 2008, when these two institutes relocated to the same building in central London.


For several years, these institutes continued to manage independent libraries. But in 2014, they merged their services and priceless Islamic studies collections to better serve their community of researchers, students and staff. This new library was unofficially known as the Joint IIS-ISMC Library.

In 2018, the combined library opened to the public as the Aga Khan Library, located in the newly built Aga Khan Centre. With more than 54,000 volumes and state-of-the-art facilities, we provide the academic public with the resources to thoroughly research the most diverse subjects in Islamic studies.


Our library houses the largest collection in Europe for the study of Ismaili communities, their history and their beliefs. It also offers a vast range of sources on Shia Islam, Quranic literature and other core issues of Islamic studies. Among them are invaluable collections to understand the historical and current development of Muslim civilisations, their cultural production, and the situation of Muslim diasporas worldwide.


The Institute of Ismaili Studies Library

The IIS Library was established in 1979 to serve researchers, students and faculty specialising in Ismaili studies, broader Shi‛i studies, Quranic studies, and education.

Their collection grew through a programme of tailored acquisitions, and donations from scholars and benefactors. This enthusiastic support helped the IIS Library become a leading centre for research. It now stands as a valuable archive for rare and significant resources covering all aspects of Ismaili thought and tradition.

The Aga Khan University's Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations Library

The AKU-ISMC Library was established in 2002 to meet the teaching needs of the university’s academic programmes. It held a distinctive scholarly research collection on Muslim cultures and civilisations, covering Muslim societies all over the world.

The library emphasised purchasing the published contributions of contemporary scholars in areas and languages of interest to the AKU-ISMC. Its main focus was on Muslim reformers in different countries, such as Egypt, Pakistan and Iran.